Golden Rule

Traditionally, Do unto others as you would have them do unto you

Cynically, He who has the gold makes the rules

Aggressively, Do unto others before they do unto you (Tarnished Silver Rule?)

Also formulated as the CategoricalImperative? : Act as if the maxim of thy action were to become by thy will a universal law of nature.


Confucious had a version of the Golden Rule: Do unto your inferiors as you would have your superiors do unto you.

Adept Kung asked: "Is there any one word that could guide a person throughout life?" The Master replied: "How about 'shu': never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself?" Analects XV.24, tr. David Hinton

I thought the original Golden Rule, which came out of India centuries before Christ, was "Don't do to others what you wouldn't want done to yourself".

Similar, yet subtly different. The first describes a set of things you should do, the second describes a set of things you shouldn't do.

The Jewish version is stated in the negative: "Do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you." A much more appropriate standard, I think for PrinciplesForGoodGuys than the positive.

The difference between the negative rule compared to the positive rule is one action and caring. The negative rule requires one not to do something. It is passive, almost to the point of indifference for the other person. The positive rule requires one to Do something. It is active. One has to care for the other person, at least as a fellow human being.

The other difference is that the negative rule is more permissive, in that you are still allowed to do things to others that you would feel indifferent about having done to you. ...unless you read the positive version strictly, which requires some behaviors but allows all behaviors. Perhaps it would be better phrased "Only do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

I seem to remember (from ReligiousEducation? classes in school) a hierarchy of rules named after metals which culminated in this one and were supposed to represent degrees of ethical or moral sophistication. The first was Lead, or something, and basically said "Do as I say or I'll kill you" [I suspect you are thinking of the Iron Rule: "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life"]. The "Don't do to others..." rule above was, I think, Silver (one below Gold), and was held to be less advanced because it was purely negative.

Is this just a bizarre teaching tool, or is it something other people have encountered?

I don't see one as being morally superior to the other, although I do see the negative rule as more practical and eminently realistic than the positive, therefore I believe it to be far more valuable. -- MarkAddleman Which is as may be... But the GoldenRule is intended (?) to subsume the silver rule (i.e. "not doing" is a special case of "doing", although recognising this is tantamount to recognising the converse... and if you do this, the silver rule transmutes itself into the GoldenRule). So it's not a case of either...or, it's a case of just (!) the silver rule, or the silver rule "plus". Whether that "plus" is a moral superiority depends on your system of ethics.

There's also a Platinum Rule: "Them what has, gets."

So what's the weapons grade uranium rule? "6 times out of 238, It'll melt your thyroid", or "in the end, it all turns to lead"?

Probably similar to the plutonium rule - "He who has the plutonium gets diplomacy"

The golden rule assumes everybody has compatible personal desires. "Do unto others what they would have YOU do unto THEM", or at least "Don't do unto others what they would have you not do unto them" is another possibility. For example, I might want someone to prevent me from taking an action they believe would harm me, but that doesn't mean you would want me to do the same to you.

Indeed. We have choices. Some choose to walk in the rain without an umbrella. That is what it means to live free -- RogerSmith?

In epigraphic form: Kitty heaven is mousie hell.

And then there is the dragon rule: "Whoever controls the dragon controls everything."

Don't you mean, "He who controls the Spice controls the Empire"?
The GoldenRule also bears relation to the evolutionary principle of ReciprocalAtruism? which, in GameTheory, has shown that players that follow TitForTat are more succesful.
Some other rules about gold:

Another proof that all generalizations are bad (pun intended) - all good civilizations should do unto evil criminals what they wouldn't do unto themselves.

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